South Kelsey Hall moated site


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019066

Date first listed: 03-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of South Kelsey Hall moated site
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lincolnshire

District: West Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: South Kelsey

National Grid Reference: TF 04485 97564


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches, often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

The moated site and associated features at South Kelsey Hall survive well as a series of earthworks and buried deposits. The establishment of the post- medieval hall complex, including gardens, on the moated site demonstrate the continued importance of the site over a period of at least 600 years. Gardens were fashionable in the later 16th and 17th centuries and were constructed for the recreation of the wealthy and to complement high status houses. They reflect the social expectations, aspirations and tastes of the period. Associated with a well-known family the complex, together with the Civil War gun emplacement, will contribute to our understanding of the development of a high status component of the post-medieval landscape. Waterlogging in the moat will preserve organic remains (such as timber, leather and seeds) which will give an insight into domestic and economic activity on the site. In addition, the artificially raised ground surface will preserve evidence of land use prior to construction. As a result of archaeological survey and documentary research the remains are quite well understood.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a medieval moated site and associated earthworks situated at South Kelsey Hall. In the earlier medieval period the land was in the possession of the priory of Winghale, which lay 1.5km to the south west. It is in the early 14th century, after the priory's lands were seized by the Crown, that the moated site at South Kelsey is believed to have been constructed, overlying earlier arable fields. The land was granted to King's College Cambridge in 1441 and subsequently passed to Trinity College; it later passed to the Hansard family and by the early 16th century was in the possession of the Ayscough family. A new hall and gardens are thought to have been constructed within the moated site at about this time. A walled forecourt, entered by an arched gateway and flanked by octagonal turrets, formed the approach to the new hall. The house served as one of the principal residences of the Ayscough family until the end of the 17th century.

During the Civil War the house, occupied by a leading local Parliamentarian, Sir Edward Ayscough, was attacked by the Royalists. At the end of the 17th century it passed by marriage to the Thornhagh family who resided there until the end of the 18th century. At the beginning of the 19th century the hall was largely demolished and replaced on approximately the same site by the present farmhouse, although the remains of the former hall will survive as a buried feature on the northern side of the farmhouse.

One of the mid-16th century octagonal turrets, altered during the 19th century and reused as a dovecote, still stands; it is Listed Grade II. Part of a mid- 16th century gateway, including a moulded ashlar arch and jambs now forms part of an outbuilding. The gateway is also Listed Grade II. The turret, the gateway, the present farmhouse, known as South Kelsey Hall, together with its adjacent yard and farm buildings lie outside the area of scheduling.

The moated site takes the form of two moated islands, with external banks. The principal, western island, measuring 110m by 100m, is enclosed by a water-filled moat on the north, west and south. The broad southern moat arm measures up to 20m in width and is believed to have been widened to create a garden feature during the 16th century. The eastern moat arm, now infilled, survives as a buried feature; it was crossed by a causeway leading to the former hall, which faced east. The remains of the forecourt, to the east of the hall, and the gardens to the west will survive as buried features. A 1591 survey of Sir Ayscough's land noted a manor house, garden, orchard and court enclosed by a moat, together with an eastern moated island.

The adjoining eastern island measures 100m by 80m and is enclosed by a moat which is water-filled to the south; to the east and north it is partly infilled but visible as a shallow depression and will survive as a buried feature. The interior of the island is marked by low earthwork remains including building platforms. At the south western corner of the eastern island a causeway crosses the southern moat arm providing the principal access to the moated site which in turn led to the causeway which formed the main approach to the former hall on the western island. On the south side of, and parallel to, the southern moat arm are the remains of an east-west road, lined by a ditch to the south, which would have served as the principal access to the moated site. Another road, known as Park Lane, formerly ran along the western moat arm, although its course is no longer visible.

Immediately to the south of the east-west road, at the south western corner of the principal moat, is a ditched and banked enclosure believed to represent the remains of a gun emplacement dating from the Civil War. The enclosure, measuring about 10m in width, is bounded on three sides by a bank, standing up to 1.5m above the surrounding ground level, and an external ditch, up to 8m in width, leaving the northern side open. On the opposite side of the road, lining part of the broad southern moat, is a large bank, about 60m long and 14m wide, which together with the gun emplacement to the south was used to defend the approach to the house during the Civil War.

The moated site was established over earlier ridge and furrow cultivation, which survives to the north, east and south of the moat. The ridge and furrow is included in the scheduling on the south and east sides where its archaeological relationship with the moated site and associated earthworks is preserved. A further external bank, lying at the north east corner of the moat, is thought to be associated with subsequent cultivation.

All fences, telegraph poles and water troughs are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 31618

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Leach, T R, Lincolnshire country houses and their families, Part 1, (1990), 69-70
RCHM(E), Everson, P L and Taylor C C and Dunn, C J, Change And Continuity: Rural Settlement in North-West Lincolnshire, (1991)
RCHM(E), Everson, P L and Taylor C C and Dunn, C J, Change And Continuity: Rural Settlement in North-West Lincolnshire, (1991)

End of official listing